IWB for refugees: France

Summary of the national legislation on refugees

The French legislation on asylum seekers was modified recently, with a view to aligning it with European Union requirements. The French Parliament finally adopted the law on the reform of asylum rights on 29 July 2015. A series of decrees and orders were consequently enacted, as from 1 November 2015, in order to be fully enforced at the end of 2015.

Formally, the modified law is intended to improve asylum seekers’ conditions in France on the following points:

* asylum seekers would be granted new rights;

* asylum applications should be reviewed faster; and

* support policy, including accommodation opportunities, would be improved.

New alleged rights

From a legal perspective, asylum seekers would benefit from 3 new rights. First of all, vulnerabilities should be better addressed. Sick persons, women suffering from abuse or violence, minors, etc… should be better identified throughout the process, and their specific conditions should be taken into account.

The second improvement focuses on the right of asylum seekers to be assisted by a counsel – a lawyer or an NGO representative – during their interview with an OFPRA employee -the body that is responsible for the asylum grant process in support of their application. Previously, asylum seekers could only benefit from the help of an interpreter.

Thirdly, applicants whose asylum request was rejected can apply to a specialized Court for an appeal – the CNDA – that now has a suspensory effect – applicants can stay in France until the appeal review is completed.

A faster procedure

A key rationale for the amendment of the laws on asylum rights is the need for a faster review of asylum claims. In 2015, asylum seekers had to wait an average of 15 months to receive a reply to their request. The objective of the law is to reduce this duration to 9 months.

As for the appeal in the event of a dispute on the decision made by OFPRA’s officers, it should be processed in 5 weeks in case of an accelerated procedure, and in 5 months in case of a regular procedure (vs. 8 months currently).

If the Government fails to deliver a reply to an asylum seeker within 9 months, the claimer will be granted an access to the labour market and job training opportunities – these are also new provisions of the law.

More housing options…

Support policy targeting the asylum seekers should also be strengthened, with a view of putting an emphasis on the early reception, especially the accommodation. Provisions of the amended French law were aligned with the requirements of EU Directive 213/32/EU on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, which stipulates that asylum seekers should be given access to the first steps of the procedure in no more than 3 days. Therefore, no mailing address is required any longer to be allowed to make a refugee claim.

Furthermore, accommodation opportunities should be widely expanded. In 2015, less than 25,500 places were available to asylum seekers in dedicated centres – the CADAs. As a consequence, many of them were offered a place in an emergency centre, to such an extent that in 2015, up to 20,000 asylum seekers were accommodated in facilities meant to be used in case of emergency.

The law stipulates that many new places should be made available to asylum seekers. According to a report published in the daily newspaper, Le Figaro, some 34,000 places will be available in the CADAs at the end of 2016.

… but a restrictive allocation system

In order to streamline the procedures for the provision of housing, the law allows for the compulsory allocation of an accommodation throughout the territory. In other words, asylum seekers will not be allowed to refuse an offer, even though the proposed housing is located in a remote area that is not convenient for them, for whatever reason.

The grant of subsidies will be subjected to the acceptance of the housing offer, which implies that refugees who refuse it would be deprived of this financial aid.

Generally speaking, specialized NGOs providing help to the refugees and asylum seekers, welcomed this new legislation, the new rights it intends to provide and the improvements it is trying to achieve. They also note that time is necessary to assess whether genuine progress is noticed in the field.

Nevertheless, some analysts have reservations about a couple of provisions. One of them pertains to the accelerated procedure of application review,  that is implemented when among other reasons, the applicant is a citizen of a “safe country”. They warn that list of “safe countries” is established according to political criteria that are far from reflecting the real state of the country.

Some academics also regret that appeals are investigated by a single judge, de facto preventing any kind of discussion of the claim.

Refugee life in France

In this section, we have to distinguish between asylum seekers and refugees (i.e. people whose asylum request was accepted), as both categories do no entitle to the same rights. To put it simply, asylum seekers’ situation is far tougher.

How much state allowance does a refugee receive a month?

In France, when it comes to social aid, refugees with a legal status are regarded as ordinary French citizen. Therefore, they do not receive any specific aid. In case they have no revenue, they are entitled to the Active Solidarity Revenue (524 euros per month for single people). Refugee families (including those who are granted a subsidiary protection) with at least two children can receive the Family Allowance (from 32,50 euros to 129,99 euros per month, depending on their revenue). In addition, payment of this allowance is also retroactive, i.e. refugees with a legal status and those under subsidiary protection can receive the family allowance for all months since they started the asylum procedure.

As to asylum seekers, they are entitled to a state allowance, called the Allowance for the Asylum Seekers, when their asylum request is registered. Whether they received an accommodation or not, its amount varies.

Those who are accommodated in a Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers or in an Emergency Centre receive from 6,80 euros per day for a single person, to 37, 40 euros per day for a family of 10 persons.

Asylum seekers who did not receive an accommodation of any kind, and had therefore to manage to find one by their own means, are entitled to an allowance ranging from 11 euros per day (for a single person) to 46 euros per day (for a family of 10 persons).

Asylum seekers falling within Dublin process are also entitled to the Allowance for asylum seekers during their waiting period. This is a recent improvement, as previously, they could not benefit from it.

It should be noted that the mechanism has just been reviewed: previously, asylum seekers who lived in an Emergency Centre (that does not provide meals) received a specific allowance, whose amount was higher than the allowance granted to asylum seekers living in a Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers that provides collective meals twice a day. Therefore, specialized associations warn against a drop in allowances granted to asylum seekers.

What are the living conditions of refugees (for example housing)?

People who were granted a refugee status are entitled to common state allowances that are intended to facilitate access to housing for people regularly living in France, i.e. the Social Allowance for Housing, or the Customized Allowance for Housing, or the Family Allowance for Housing. They are also prioritized for the provision of a public housing unit (habitation à loyer modéré, or moderate rental housing).

Asylum seekers (including those falling within the Dublin process) should theoretically be provided with an accommodation in a Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers, but places in those centres are too few: according to an official report in October 2013 (1), only 21,000 places were offered. In 2015, some 5,000 additional places were to be opened. However, with 65,000 persons submitting an asylum request (figures of 2014), the system is far from sufficient. As a result, only one third of official asylum seekers are usually granted a place in such centres.

In addition, the allocation process is very long, and beneficiaries have to wait an average of 11 months to be allocated an accommodation. A s a result, many asylum seekers have to live in Emergency Centres: late 2012, some 24,000 asylum seekers were accommodated in such centres, that are not intended for long-term accommodation, but only for emergency cases.

Are refugees offered language lessons?

People whose asylum request was accepted sign a Welcome and Integration Contract, that includes language lessons (up to 400 hours) and should result in the delivery of the Diplôme initial de langue française (Initial Diploma in French language).

As to asylum seekers, they are not offered language lessons. They can only benefit from the help of an interpreter when they are invited to the interview that is part of the asylum request process. Reception Centres for Asylum Seekers and  Emergency Centres may also offer a legal assistance to the asylum seekers, to help them to establish their asylum request, but that does not include lessons of French.

Are people with an official refugee status allowed to work? If yes, is there assistance for finding employment?

Yes. They are allowed to work, as soon as they receive the first receipt for their residence card as a recognized refugee.

Theoretically, they should be offered an assistance for their employment search: the Welcome and Integration Contract that they will sign includes an information session (from 1 hour to 6 hours) about living in France (access to governmental services, such as training and job opportunities).

They can also register at Pôle Emploi, the French agency in charge of gathering job opportunities, and as a job seeker, they will be entitled to a skills assessment (up to 3 hours), in order to take stock of their experience and/or competencies and/or qualifications. Then, Pole Emploi will be able to establish for them a “customized pathway to access to a job”. These steps are similar to those available to French citizens or regular residents in France. They are not known to be efficient in terms of access to employment, but this is another story…

Refugees whose profession is a protected one (physician, architect…) should have their local diploma officially recognized to be allowed to practice it. Actually, this is in general a long and hard process, that can involve an exam to be passed. This is in particular the case of physicians. Before they pass it, or if they fail, refugees will have to be recruited for a lower position, for instance nurse, a job for which there is a high demand. As a result, lots of refugee physicians work as nurses or even lower jobs.

As for asylum seekers, they are not allowed to work, except after nine months if their asylum request has not been replied yet. However, they will not be allowed to benefit from governmental services for job seekers: they can only get a temporary work permit, provided that they bring a recruitment promise from a specific employer or a contract of employment.

Do legal refugees have the right to work immediately or only after a certain period of time?

They can work immediately.

Is there a maximum amount of time that a refugee can stay in the country in which it seeks asylum? Also receiving a legal refugee status?

No, asylum seekers can stay in the country until their request is answered once and for all. As to people who are granted a refugee status, they are entitled to a residence card for 10 years. Those who are provided a subsidiary protection are allowed to stay in France for 1 (renewable) year.

Do refugees or their children have the right to attend schools, universities, etc?

Refugees who were granted an official status can access to governmental employment services, that include training opportunities. They can also study in governmental universities. Asylum seekers can do so as well and are exempting from paying fees. But some academics say that these rights are not enough and universities should go further to meet the needs of refugees/asylum seekers in education. In a op-ed published by the French newspaper Libération (2), they recently urged university presidents to put pressure on the Government so that it allows asylum seekers to work for example. They also think the universities should offer them French lessons, if required.

As to children of both refugees and asylum seekers, they have to attend a school if they are 6 to 16 years old, since all children in France are subjected to the obligation of pursuing studies.

Is the state obliged to provide asylum seekers with healthcare?

Yes, asylum seekers are entitled to the Universal Health Coverage (under review, will be replaced with the Universal Health Protection), that allows them to have their health expenses partially covered by the Government, as any other resident in France. They can benefit from this mechanism as soon as their request is submitted, and they are not subjected to the 3-month residence condition.

Refugees who have no professional activity can benefit from the Universal Health Protection as well.

Do refugees experience obstacles with regard to issues like social life, personal well being, freedom, etc ? Please illustrate briefly.

In addition to global housing difficulties (see above), the real scandal of “Calais’ Jungle” should be addressed here. Though it does not bear upon official refugees, nor even those who seek asylum in France, the camp symbolizes Government’s failure/reluctance to give an efficient answer to migrants influx. The sadly well-known “Jungle of Calais” is an informal refugee camp stretching over 18 hectares. In the worst of times, it has taken in up to 6,000 refugees. Located in Northern France, on the Channel coast, Calais is positioned at the entrance of the Channel Tunnel, hence, thousands of people fleeing countries faced with armed conflicts (Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia) head for Calais, with a view to cross the Channel and seek asylum in United Kingdom. While refugees’ presence in Calais is not new, the Jungle was opened in the spring of 2015 to relieve Central Calais of informal refugee camps. Located in a Seveso-classified industrial area, the camp suffers from a lack of everything: no electricity, no shelter (only tents), only 3 water supply points, 90 chemical toilets, a relief centre providing a single meal per day (3). Government’s response to this crisis mainly consists of security measures, hence clashes with the police force are frequent, to the extent that the Mediator of the Republic, Jacques Toubon, admitted his concern about “police violence” against refugees in Calais. Numerous NGOs denounce on a regular basis this situation (4) that is unworthy of a developed country. Following a complaint lodged by some of them before an Administrative Tribunal, French Authorities were required to build an appropriate permanent shelter to accommodate inhabitants of the camp in the winter. This has been recently done, but some issues remain.

(1)L’organisation des structures d’accueil pour demandeurs d’asile en France, Point de contact français du Réseau européen des migrations, October 2013. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/docs/emn-studies/09b.spain_national_report_receptionfacilities_fr_version_dec2013_final.pdf

(2)http://www.liberation.fr/debats/2015/09/12/pour-l-accueil-des-refugies-dans-les-universites_1380431

(3)http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/monde/migrants/20151119.OBS9856/dans-la-jungle-de-calais-les-migrants-ont-les-mains-lacerees-jusqu-a-l-os.html

(4)http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/societe/en-images-migrants-vivre-dans-la-jungle-de-calais_1735038.html

The legal process

The law on the legal process to ask asylum just changed since November and the legal process is also quite confused in this period.

Asking Asylum

A) Where to ask asylum

3 cases :

  • The asylum seeker is controlled at the border. He has to ask asylum to the authorities. If he entered irregularly he could be forced to stay in a waiting area in the airport if he arrived by plane (see 5th title) or may be brought in an expulsion center for migrants where he would be able to ask asylum (see 4th title) but normally the person who asks asylum for the first time should be protected from being sent in an administrative detention center and have the right to follow a normal process asylum seeking. (following judicial precedents) The Asylum seeker is then brought by the police to the prefecture.
  • The Asylum seeker enters in France without any control. He has to go to a prefecture to ask asylum as soon as possible.
  • Asylum can be asked another times for re-examination, but there is the condition of being able to bring new elements to justify the re-exam and the process will differ.

B) The beginning of the asylum processes

The asylum seeker has to give finger prints in the prefecture to be checked on Eurodac database. Identity has to be given, but identity papers can’t be a condition to have the right to ask asylum.

In the prefecture, the asylum seeker can cope with two main situations :

  • The prefecture has to register the request within three days and transmit it immediately to the Office for the protection of asylum seekers and apatrides (OFPRA) except for people concerned by Dublin directive. The prefecture has to provide a permit of stay to the asylum seeker for the whole process of asylum seeking (including the appeal) except some cases (2nd request of asylum, Dublin cases, …)
  • Dublin cases : the prints of the asylum seekers are already registered on Eurodac database or in the passport they presented, there are stamps from another Schengen country. It can be either because that person already asked asylum but was rejected (Schengen readmission case, France will return this person to the Schengen country responsible to deport the undocumented migrant), or because this person crossed a Schengen country by coming in France and didn’t ask asylum there. In application of Dublin directive, he had to ask asylum there and can be returned. In this case, the prefecture will ask to the concerned Schengen country if the person can be sent back to seek asylum there. If the country agreed, prefecture takes a Transfer decision. It’s an administrative decision, so asylum seekers threatened to be sent back to another Schengen country can make an appeal against the decision of transfer to the administrative tribunal within 15 days from the notification of the decision. The tribunal has to judge within 15 days. The appeal is suspensive : the asylum seeker is protected from being sent back in the concerned Schengen country until the tribunal decision..

During the period of Dublin process, from the notification of the transfer’s decision, the person can be asked to stay at home under control and in this case, they have to make the appeal within 48 hours and the judge has to decide with 72 hours.

This whole process is leaded by prefecture, OFPRA has no competence in it, which is contrary to Dublin directive.

After this beginning of the asylum process in the prefecture, the OFPRA receives the request and decides in which process the request can fit. There are three types of processes :

1) The ordinary Process

2) The fastest Process

Asylum seekers can be put in a “faster process” by the OFPRA :

  • Because it is legally requested :

– When the country which they belong to is on a list of “safe country” (there is a presumption of false asylum request)

– Because they already asked asylum in the past and were denied. They can apply again for asylum if they have new elements, but the process will be faster.

  • Because the Prefect asks OFPRA to do it
  • The asylum seeker refuses to give the fingerprints for EURODAC database
  • The asylum seeker hides his identity
  • The asylum seeker asks for asylum more than 90 days after entering in France
  • The asylum seeker asks asylum to avoid an expulsion process
  • The asylum seeker is a threat to public order
  • Because OFPRA considers the request clearly groundless or without any pertinence

OFPRA can decide to turn the faster process into an ordinary process if the asylum seeker is vulnerable (Underaged isolated) or if the request is not groundless.

Timings : 2 weeks for the OFPRA process and 3 weeks for the appeal process.

3) Inadmissible Process

OFPRA can decide inadmissible the request from asylum seekers in Dublin process, for the re-exam asylum requests without new elements, from a beneficiary of international protection in a UE country or from a refugee of another country whose protects him effectively.

OFPRA can close a request process if the asylum seeker doesn’t send the elements of his request or doesn’t go to the interview. It can also decide a faster process if the request is clearly grounded or if the person is vulnerable.

Asylum seeking interview in the OFPRA

A) The Interview

There is an interview in the OFPRA except if

  • The asylum seeker cannot go to the OFPRA for serious medical reasons
  • The asylum seeker comes from a country in which there is absolutely no risk of persecution
  • OFPRA doesn’t even need to interview the asylum seeker to grant asylum (really exceptional!)
  • The request is openly groundless

The asylum seeker receives a convocation after some weeks or months. He has to go to the interview, which takes place near Paris. It is complicated for some people who come from far away  in France. Asylum seekers do not receive an aid for the costs of the travel. Some associations pay the travel for their asylum seekers, but they do not have to legally. Moreover, sometimes interviews are really early the morning and they have also to find a place to sleep in Paris.

The asylum seeker is interviewed by a unique and an anonymous officer of the OFPRA. He has the right to be assisted :

  • By a translator of the language of their choice paid by OFPRA. Nonetheless OFPRA is not always careful for the choice of the translator regarding the region the asylum seeker comes from. For example, a Moroccan Arabic translator for a Syrian asylum seeker. Several languages are officially the same but in practice quite different between the different countries, and a lot of interview are difficult for asylum seekers because of this.
  • By a member of an habilitated association
  • By his lawyer

The asylum seeker has the duty to cooperate and to answer to the questions. The duration of the interview depends on how will talk the asylum seeker. OFPRA can ask a medical examination of the asylum seeker.

The officer is the one transcribing the notes of the interview. In the ordinary process, the asylum seeker should receive the notes of the interview before the result. Also, it is important to check that the officer reported correctly the interview.

B) The result

Then, begins a new waiting period. The result comes by mail. It may be after three weeks, but also after one year. Nonetheless, only +/- 10 % of asylum seekers get protection with OFPRA. We have to underline that officers have to justify if they grant the protection but they don’t have to do it if they reject it…

Three possible results :

  • OFPRA grants a refugee status which gives the right to get a long stay permit of 10 years, renewable.
  • OFPRA grants subsidiary protection wich gives a permit to stay 1 year, renewable.
  • OFPRA rejects the request.

In case the reason of being protected ceased or if there is an exclusion to the protection, OFPRA has to take off the protection. OFPRA can refuse protection if there is a protection from an international organization or a party, or if they can be somehow protected in their own country.

III) The appeal in the National Court of asylum seeking (CNDA)

Asylum seekers have one month to make an appeal in the National Court of asylum seeking (CNDA).

During this process, they can be assisted by a lawyer, and they can ask for a “free” or “partially free” lawyer through jurisdictional aid of the State. Unfortunately, a lot of lawyers consider they’re not paid enough through this aid and don’t work conscientiously at all. Who has money to pay a private lawyer gets also more chance to be well defended.

The CNDA has the right, through a unique judge who realizes a “pre-exam” of the request, to consider that the request is clearly unsubstantiated and can reject it without any audience. If not, the asylum seeker is asked to go to the CNDA near Paris again for the audience. This time, he will have the assistance of the lawyer.

The asylum seeker receives the result by mail within 5 months if it is a normal process, or within 5 weeks if it is a fast process, and this case is judged by a unique judge. Nonetheless, this judge can consider the case shouldn’t be a fast process and can decide to turn it into a normal process.

Here again, the result can be : refugee status, subsidiary protection or reject.

If rejected, the asylum seeker loses the right to stay on the territory and, usually, receives an “Obligation to leave the French territory” within 30 days, which is a decision issued by the prefecture.

The case in which Asylum is seeked from an administrative detention center.

The police arrest an undocumented migrant and start a process to detain him in an administrative detention center. Two cases :

  • The migrant tells immediately he wanted to ask asylum to the police. Following the judicial precedents, the asylum seeker should be free overall if he just arrived in the country and never asked asylum before. If he is conducted anyway in the administrative detention center, he can really make an appeal against the expulsion decision for this reason and usually he wins and gets free.
  • The migrant tells after being sent to the administrative detention center that he wants to ask asylum.

In this case :

  • The asylum seeker can be under Dublin process. He will have to stay in the center until he gets re-admitted into the concerned Schengen country. He has only 48 hours to make an appeal against the decision of transfer and the judge has 72 hours to decide.
  • The asylum process is done in the center following a really fast process. He has to ask asylum within 5 days after entering into the center. The penitentiary administration transmits the file of asylum to the OFPRA. If the asylum seeker is in re-exam because he already asked asylum in the past, he has to bring new elements. Otherwise, the request will be inadmissible. Then the officer of the OFPRA can interview the asylum seeker in the audience or in a video-conference.

– The OFPRA can grant a protection (refugee status / subsidiary protection) and the person gets free.

– The OFPRA can reject the request. The asylum seeker may make an appeal to the CNDA, an appeal which is not suspensive.

The case in which asylum is seeked in the airport

If an undocumented migrant arrives in France by plane without the necessary documents, he has the right to ask the right to enter on the territory to ask for asylum in the airport. During this process, he will be detained in a waiting area inside the airport. The minister can reject the request if it is clearly groundless or if the asylum seekers depends on another country because of Dublin rules.

OFPRA will hear the asylum seeker, who can be assisted by a lawyer or a member of an association, and can decide that the request is grounded. In this case, the minister has to let the asylum seeker the right to enter on the territory to ask for asylum (except in the case of serious trouble to public order). OFPRA can ask to make free the person earlier in case of vulnerability or underage (except if he comes from a safe country, lied about his identity or is a serious threat to public order). In the case the person is denied the right to enter on the territory to ask asylum, he has a really short time to make an appeal. The administrative judge decides within 72 hours and can reject without an audience.

Sources :

Code de l’entrée et du Séjour des étrangers et du droits d’asile

Cimade Organisation http://www.lacimade.org/publication/

http://www.forumrefugies.org/s-informer

Interviews

Everything indicated in this report has been told or by refugees either by workers. We indicated here their points of views, their opinions, their experiences. These are the answers of the questions we asked them.

Refugees were asked why did they flee their countries.

Interviewed refugees fled mainly because of political persecutions. Some had to flee because they were socially and politically active during the Syrian revolution and were detained for these activities. Now, they are unable to return because the war is still continuing. Others fled because they publicly denounced the government, or, as a member of the police, refused to take part in corruption. There are also people that were targeted by a powerful crime syndicate: one example is the ransom kidnapping of a bank employee’s son. Some refugees had to flee persecution based on homosexuality, forced marriage or also genital mutilation.

Refugees were asked why did they seek asylum in France. Most of these people did not choose to ask in asylum in France, it simply was the country were the traffickers took them. For those that speak English, they wished they could have gone to an English speaking country instead, but they did not have the means or the right passport to travel there. Some were willing to ask asylum in France because they already knew the language and it was easier. Some also thought that France was the “Human Right’s Country” and thought they would be protected.

Refugees were asked how was their reception in France. When refugees speak about their arrival in France, it is often the memory of a really traumatic period. A lot of them were abandoned in the street, had to sleep outside for a long period, sometimes with children. The shelters were full and it took time before places were free. A family explained they were assaulted and beaten by the police, despite having children of 2 and 5 years old. As a result they had to go to a hospital for treatment. Nonetheless, the hospital told them it would be useless to file a complaint against the police. Such an incident was really painful, especially for a person who already fled a country in which they were not protected by the authorities of the state. Many had to be helped by members of their own communities to know how to seek asylum and how to request a shelter.
All refugees agree that the process of the asylum application is difficult and extremely stressful. It is complex, it too easilly concludes that people are from a “secure country”, or it takes extremely long (more than two years). People from countries considered “secure” are afraid to be considered as “fake” asylum seekers and worried about not being able to prove their personal persecution. Once asylum seekers are admitted in a refugee center, they experience good support; for example, access to translators, education, activities and social and legal aid. Further, the personnel of these centers try to explain all the processes and also listen to them.

Refugees were asked how is the situation in their country now. What those that fled political persecution noticed is that their countries were often deemed sufficiently democratic and respectful of human rights by the French authorities. This shows that the guise of peace can often be deceiving and does not mean that the rights of individuals are respected. In such cases, people like lawyers or organisations like human rights NGOs are often powerless. For other refugees, the situation of the country is really bad, in whole war.

Refugees were asked if family members are planning to seek asylum as well. But actually, not all family members of refugees plan to seek asylum: in some situations, the individual family members got asylum in different countries or the family is planning to leave and to seek asylum somewhere else. But sometimes, mostly in case of political persecution, the threat does not concern all family members.

Refugees were asked if they feel they have a future in this country. Every refugee is conscious it will be quite hard to settle in the country of refuge. It is necessary to learn the language and hard to get your professional and academic background recognized. For most this is the hardest challenge, it forces refugees to start again from the ground. Despite this, a lot of them are hopeful and think that, thanks to patience and efforts, they can manage to have a future here.

Finally, Refugees were asked if knowing what they know now, they would have done things differently. Knowing what they know now, a lot of them would not have done what led to their persecution or would have done it differently. They would have thought twice before leaving, and even if they did not have any choice but to flee, they wish they could have avoided to be treated as they were when they reached France.

In this second part, are transcripted  Interviews with people working with refugees. Here again, all the given information/opinions come from the answer of interviewed workers. These are what they replied to the questions.

I interviewed three main types of refugee workers:
People working with asylum seekers and refugees during their asylum procedure and immediately after being granted the refugee status.

Refugees were firstly asked what are they doing exactly at work.

People working in administrative detention centers, assisting asylum seekers with rejected applications, or people caught at the borders or without a right to stay in France for other reasons.

People that help in migrant camps on the border.

For people working with asylum seekers during the asylum seeking process, there are mainly 2 types of settings.

The first one is a platform, a basic office, not connected to an asylum center. During the day, asylum seekers and “new” refugees can come, to follow their legal processes (filling out the form to ask asylum, preparing the interview with the officer, appealing the decision if the OFPRA rejects, etc.) and social processes (register for the monthly allowance for asylum seekers, getting health insurance, looking for shelter or accommodation, registering children to school, etc.)

The second one is a center, in which asylum seekers live. In this center, the operators manage the legal, social and integration processes for/with the asylum seekers of the center. Moreover, in this kind of center, operators will often organize activities and animations for the inhabitants. When asylum seekers are granted asylum, operators help them to prepare necessities like getting the refugee card, being registered to the work office or looking for accommodation.

For those working in migrant camps on the borders, the tasks are quite general. They have to manage food distribution, and also participate in the preparation of the food. A lot of the work concerns translation and information: the right to seek asylum, Dublin Regulations, Restoring Family Links Services, health and work possibilities.

A part is also about counting refugees, controlling who enters in the camp, checking the rooms,…

Finally, some people are working in the administrative detention center. They are working there through an NGO or association and their aim is to legally assist migrants sent to this center for  deportation. They help people, amongst other things, to do appeals against the decision to send them away or to seek asylum in  emergency.

Then, workers were asked if it was a conscious choice to work with refugees. Actually, a large part of the people working with asylum seekers studied human rights or humanitarian action and working with asylum seekers and refugees is actually part of their ambition and what they love to do. Some people knew already during their studies that they would like to work in this field.

Then Refugees were asked which is – in their views – the most pressing issue with regard to refugees in France and on an international and EU level. Refugee workers notice many pressing issues :

At an international level, it looks like the most pressing issue is to resolve existing conflicts and to promote peace.

At a European level, first of all, there is the phenomena of ““fashioned”” asylum seekers. Some nationalities are considered to have by default the right to asylum , while others are mostly considered to make false requests. Through the asylum seeking process or directly in the hotspots, governments scout the ““market”” and select refugees following their nationalities. In France, it was a problem during the relocation of asylum seekers and refugees. People in certain cities were expecting to welcome Syrian asylum seekers, but instead asylum seekers from Eritrea arrived. These Eritrean refugees did not receive the treatment and accompaniment which was initially planned for Syrian refugees, which is absolutely discriminating and against refugee’s rights.

Workers underlined also the problem of the media which use the facts and situations, mostly in a negative sense. They don’t talk about positive action from European civil society towards refugees and from refugees themselves. Media is partly responsible in the existing tension on the refugee’s question. Another challenge at a European level is the Dublin regimentation which is really too strength. The fact that people can’t seek asylum in each country is somehow logical, but this shouldn’t mean they can’t have the choice of the country in which they wish to seek asylum.

Then, even if Dublin III begins to take in account personal situations, the system is still too strong. Language, relations, cousins (not only closed relatives) are really important elements. Then, Dublin can’t be imposed if there are so huge difference between the standards of protection and rights between European countries.

Some refugee workers say that we have to carefully respect the Geneva Convention of 1951, which means welcoming ALL people in need of protection (without quotas or number limitation). We need a true policy to welcome refugees, and have to cease to close borders to avoid refugees to come. We need to open the borders and to help massively bordering countries. It’s also necessary to be really strict on the full respect of the European convention of human rights. Countries enabled to conform to that rules should be forced to leave UE.

Finally, discrimination against migrants leads to exclusion, poverty, anger and is a huge obstacle for integration.

In France, several pressing issues were pointed out by interviewed workers. It seems that the state only wants to spend the minimum amount of money on migration policies and their implementation. This leads to a very low level of services, far lower than what this country is able to do. Accommodation for asylum seekers is rare and mostly in a bad condition. In order to receive correspondence and follow their processes asylum seekers need to register on an address, the level of services, however, makes it difficult to do so. Moreover, they do not have the right to work during their asylum seeking process and without an income it is almost impossible to find housing.
Another problem pointed out by refugees workers is the complicated nature of the asylum processes. For example, if the prefecture decides not to give them the right to stay during their asylum seeking, they have only 7 days to make an appeal against this decision. All processes are extremely long, for example to get the result of the asylum seeking, to get a monthly allowance or to get housing,
Then we asked refugee workers about the general opinion about refugees in France, in a public and political sense and they do not have all the same perception.

Some of them think the general opinion is mainly negative. The role of the media is underlined; they mostly treat refugees in a negative context: they talk about the problems and the crisis never about positive and sympathetic facts. This brings people to a negative point of view about migrants and causes them to more easily accept strict laws on migration. Politicians adopt this sentiment to be well received by the people. A refugees worker told we can notice the success of far-right parties, the ones are opposed to refugees welcoming. Some workers feel difficulty to talk about their work, as sometimes people will answer with hard and racist words about migrants.

Nonetheless, some workers put forwards the fact that this opinion is the noisiest one, but may not represent the general opinion of people. For a lot of people, there is overall a lack of knowledge and understanding but not systematically a rejection. They might be afraid or insecure, but also feel empathy. Some people will be in favor of welcoming a certain type of asylum seeker or refugee (Christians from Iraq or Syrians are especially well seen), but at the same time are also demanding: refugees should not benefit too much from social assistance/funds, work, integrate, etc. This view is very useful at the political stage. When politicians express themselves about migration, they cannot adopt a full rejection speech and they talk mainly about financing migration policies, about the problem of ““social peace”” and about the cost of welcoming  migrants.

In politics, a strict division is made between “refugees” and “other non endangered migrants”. However, such a division is not realistic. Migrants can be both: poor and endangered. Endangered people can be unable to express their stories properly and will be considered as not entitled to the refugee status. Working with migrants every day, you will learn quickly that you cannot put people in categories so easily. Migration cannot be for bad or good reasons. This view is really far from reality.

All refugee workers agree on the fact that the reality of migration in France is largely unknown to the general public. People have a wrong idea of the profiles, behaviors, backgrounds, treatments and the welcoming of migrants. The public imagines that asylum seekers are welcomed in good conditions and receive large amounts of money. They also think our country is welcoming more refugees than other countries.
A Refugees worker  wanted also to underline that a lot of people are also willing to take part to the welcoming of refugees. They don’t know how to help but they have empathy. Some organisations have proposed families to welcome refugee’s family at home for a while or for holidays. There were too many french families proposing to host refugees and these organisations had to refuse the participation of lots of french families as these were too much.

Another question asked to Refugee Workers is which are the most significant changes they have experienced, over time, in the way refugees are treated and perceived. Actually, most of them have not noticed positive changes. At the same time, the current situation made that a lot of people are now talking about migrants and that there is a lot of initiative when before nobody cared. This might be the positive point: facing political inertia, we can see civil society taking on the problem and proposing more efficient solutions than the government does (Organisations linking French families to welcome refugees, organizing migrant camps, distribution of food, and so on).

Refugee workers put forward that despite these changes,  racism still exists and is even higher. Terrorist attacks brought people to assimilate refugees to potential Terrorists. Politicians and media speeches are stressful and worrying for people.

The processes remain difficult and integration is still hard. No matter how refugees are qualified they always face difficulties with getting equivalence of their diploma and experience and have to do job qualified at a really lower level than the job they had previously. Behind a lot of talks, the practice remains the same. Everybody had pity for Syrians, but in practice when they reached France at the beginning, there were imprisoned in administrative detention centers.

In the school, pressure is immediate towards immigrant children and their families: they have to integrate and immediately. In conclusion, the general feeling of pity brought some good initiatives, but didn’t change the way refugees are really perceived and even less the way in which they are treated.

A last question asked to workers is which could be their expectations regarding changes in refugee policies for people working with refugees and which refugee issues could benefit most from more strictly enforced EU-level regulations and laws? A lot of ideas come from practitioners. Working in the field, it becomes really easy to put forward all the failures.
When asked about expected or necessary changes in refugee policies, all refugee workers agree that it is absolutely necessary to organize a way to host, with dignity and without discrimination all asylum seekers. It is also necessary to give them the opportunity to work from the first beginning. It would also be essential to assist them deeply in their integration process.

For this, it would be deeply important to push societal initiatives and allocate funds to associations to lead this kind of projects. The EU should also invest money in better reception facilities instead of giving money to barely democratic countries because we want them to prevent refugees from reaching Europe. Changing the discourse on migrants is also really important: this change should is the responsibility of the state and organisations should be helped to organize such events as intercultural dialogue/integration activities.

In France, Refugee Workers think it is essential to stop with the presumed « safe » countries which lead asylum seekers to have express processes.

At a European level, the Dublin regulation should be totally reformed; it causes a lot of dramatic and unacceptable situations. This is a change which could be brought through strictly enforced European law.

The legal definition of refugee should be reformed. Subsidiary protection is not enough, we have to include larger humanitarian reasons, such as serious economical difficulties or climate change. For Refugee workers, this could also be brought through law enforced at a European level. For them, UE laws should be an opportunity to improve the system in the sense of a better respect of fundamental rights and humanity.

To end the interviews, workers were asked what they find the most challenging aspect of their job and what are rewards it brings.

“To cope with a logic stronger than ourselves”. Bitter. Angry. A common point refugee workers share is their disappointment and their commitment.

They all are upset about the lack of humanity towards refugees, the violence when they are imprisoned in administrative detention centers, the demands of institutions, and the Machiavellianism of a system asking them so much but forbidding them everything. It is hard to go on when doors are hermetically closed. It is hard to preserve refugees and help them when around you there are so few possibilities and so much pressure.

But all are involved and committed. They love their beneficiaries and they are willing to help them despite the context and the conditions. This involvement is their strength. Each asylum seeker being granted asylum and each tribunal giving a migrant his proper rights is a victory and bring happiness to workers. Additionally, these migrants bring them a story, a background, a culture, a strength, such a strength!

Migrants help the refugee workers to feel useful and feeling useless is one of the worst feelings a human can feel. Thanks to this work, they get a better perspective on life. They learn a lot about human beings and their beneficiaries teach them how lucky they are and how blessed their lives are in comparison to the suffering of others.

Description of what happens if they do not receive the refugee status

Description of what happens if they do not receive the refugee status :

 

If they do not receive any protection even after the appeal, asylum seekers usually receive an “Obligation to leave French territory” Act, which is an administrative act from the prefect. They have 30 days to leave the country. The law allows the prefecture not to give this 30 days to leave, but it has to be justified. Prefecture could also forbid the asylum seeker to come back in France for a maximum of 3 years. Nonetheless, people who before were seeking asylum usually receive this 30 days to leave and they do not have any prohibition to come back.

 

Asylum seekers lose their rights and protection and from that moment, they can be deported and they lose all their « asylum seeker’s right ». Usually, if they had an accommodation, they have one month to leave it and they will lose immediately the temporary financial allocation from the state. They also lose the right to be helped by the association for asylum seekers.

 

  • If they agree to leave and return in their country : They can get an aid to return to their country. A public institution, the OFII (French Office of Immigration and Integration) offers an amount of money to help migrants who have to leave. The amount depends mostly on the country they’re from.
  • If they want to go in a different EU country : technically, it’s not forbidden for them to go in another EU country. But the french asylum request is registered on eurodac system and they may have problem if they seek asylum in the following year in another EU country. If they’re forbidden to come back in France, they may be registered in the Schengen system, which forbids them to stay in all Schengen’s countries
  • If they don’t want to leave : As it’s an administrative act, it’s possible to make an appeal against it to the administrative Tribunal. If the appeal is rejected another appeal is possible to the administrative court of appeal. To achieve this process, they should theoretically have access to associations or services to help them to make the appeal and they can ask for legal aid to be supported by a lawyer.

– If the tribunal considers they can’t be forced to leave, they may get the right to stay and could get a permit to stay in France. They can also just be free from the « Obligation to leave » act, without getting any legal permit to stay. In this case, they become undocumented migrants.

– If they’re rejected, they have to leave (and they can get the aid to return) or if they stay, they will be under this « Obligation to leave » Act and threaten to be arrested and deported until the duration of the act comes at the end.

 

The « obligation to leave » Act has a duration of one year. Even if the person makes an appeal, the duration is for one year from the date of the Act’s notification.This means that during this time, they can’t go in the prefecture to make any request for another permit to stay. They’re in a way « stuck » : they’re irregulars and they can’t make any process to get another type of permit to stay.

The obligation is to LEAVE french territory, not to return home. Also who proves they went abroad, is not anymore under this « Obligation to leave » Act, even if they went in a UE country and went back to France before the end of the one year period.

Until this Act is valid, the police may come and pick the former asylum seeker at home and deport him.

Even if they don’t come to pick the former asylum seeker, there is always the risk of a control in the street. Even when the validity of this Act comes at the end, as being irregular, if the undocumented person is controlled, he can be « imprisoned » in an administrative detention center and deported.

Nonetheless, from the moment in which this act is not valid anymore, or because the tribunal cancelled the « Obligation to leave » Act either because the one year period finished or even because the person left the french territory and came back ; he has the right to go in the prefecture to ask for another type of permit to stay or he may also ask for a re-exam of the asylum request if he has some new elements to expose.

 

References :

http://www.lacimade.org/sinformer

http://www.forumrefugies.org/s-informer

Analysis of how the media depicts the refugees in France

Is there national media attention for refugees and refugee issues?

Refugees and refugee issues are widely covered by French media. On average, top newspaper Le Monde publishes 2 detailed articles per week on this topic, for example. Notably, this newspaper has focused on this issue for a long time, even before the refugees crisis became acute and “visible” to ordinary citizens, that is, when arrival of refugees to Eastern European borders became massive. Similarly, all print media devote articles to the refugee issue on a very regular basis. This is not only the case of national media (i.e. daily newspapers and weekly newsmagazines), but also regional media, despite their well-known trend towards the coverage of local events alone.

TV channels are not an exception to the rule and devote lots of reports to refugees. Popular channel TF1, whose newscast is the most followed among the general public, frequently covers the topic, up to a daily basis. Governmental TV channels, including France 2 and France 3, also show a significant interest on the refugees, though a different point of view is often adopted. Private channels, such as TF1, mainly addresses two dimensions: the security one (with reports dealing with the control on Eastern European countries’ borders, for instance[1]) and the personal one (with reports telling the story of particular refugees[2]). On the other side, governmental channels focuses more frequently on humanitarian aspects of the topic and broadcast reports on volunteers welcoming refugees in Greece[3] for example, or villages hosting refugees in the French countryside[4].

With regard to print media, the spectrum of covered issues is wider. In addition to reports in the field and “portraits” of single refugees, articles also deal with political aspects, especially how the European Commission addresses the crisis[5]; international aspects, including the crisis response in other European countries[6]; or even the historical point of view (refugees’ host tradition in Syria[7], for example) or the cultural one (a book publishers’ initiative aiming at children and explaining them who the refugees are was largely reflected[8], for example).

However, it should be noted that when referring to refugees, all media (print and TV) more frequently use the term of “migrants” than the term of “refugees”.

How are refugees presented by the media? And is being a country of refuge presented in a negative, neutral or positive way?

We chose to answer to the latter question first, as the answer is quick: the status of country of refuge is never dealt with in this way by media. No media company undertakes to open a discussion on this point: what do refugees bring to countries of refuge, or even what disadvantages do this status involve?

This aspect is basically ignored. Only one op-ed could be found on this issue. Under the title “Welcoming refugees is an asset”[9], this opinion article is written by a priest, and tackles the philosophical dimensions of refugees’ presence. In line with the Christian traditions, it highlights the benefits of sharing thoughts, experiences and time with those people coming from remote countries. Apart from this story, no media considers the topic from this perspective. One could infer that the media do not want to take the risk of assuming that being a country of refuge may entail difficulties. In France, criticizing refugees’ presence politically refers to the extreme right wing; therefore, all “respectable” media refrains from asking such a sensitive question.

On the other side, media managers know that in France, the general public does not favour the massive arrival of refugees. Another assumption may be that any article underlining that refugees’ presence has positive consequences would be seen as risky and offend the convictions of a majority of readers. As a result, media avoid raising the question. Again, this is only an assumption.

While they neglect to discuss the benefits/constraints of being a country of refuge, the media devote a large number of articles to the refugees themselves. An endless series of portraits/personal stories of single refugees can be read/watched on all kinds of media[10]. While French media are traditionally influenced by the American school of journalism, a majority of them tend to publish “neutral” articles, or at least, articles that try to address all aspects of a question, either positive or negative. Nevertheless, the choice of the subject, or with regard to portraits, the empathy showed with depicted individuals, reveal a lot about media’s perception of refugees.

That said, all studied articles actually showed a positive perception of the refugees. Personal stories of single refugees published/broadcast by the media often share common points. Most of them mention the difficulties faced by people coming from remote countries, especially the exhausting travel they experienced. Lots of reports also emphasize that refugees thank French people for welcoming them. Stories published in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Paris often stressed that Syrian refugees, for instance, were in great distress over the attacks, or even afraid, stood by Parisian people and asserted their solidarity with them[11].

Two reports also noticed that the education level of the Syrian/Iraqi refugees was often high, with many graduated people[12]. Single reports go further and tell the story of outstanding refugees. For example, TV channel TF1 reported in November on two Syrian swimming champion sisters who did not hesitate to dive into water to save their travel companions as their boat was sinking[13].

A number of media also report from small cities or villages that welcomed a few additional refugees, following European decisions of expanding the number of hosted people. For example, a governmental channel went to the Vosges region last November to go into the question in two villages. Its report revealed that while mayors accepted official requests for accommodating a small number of refugees, town councils refused their arrival[14].

From a political point of view, plenty of articles addresses country policies towards the refugee issue. Surprisingly, many articles deal with US and German restrictive policies[15], but not with the French one. Several articles published in Le Monde newspaper criticize politicians’ attitudes/governmental practices. For example, a report published last October warn about the presence of Syrian refugees in detention centres and denounces “the Government’s false magnanimity”[16]. In November, a blog hosted by Le Monde’s website undertook to fix the misinformation shared by Pierre Lellouche right-winger about aids directed at refugees[17].

Finally, a regional newspaper reported in October on a poll exploring the refugee issue, that was conducted in 7 European countries[18]. That poll revealed that only 46% of French people favoured the idea of welcoming refugees, whereas in Germany and in Italy, these rates were much higher, with respectively, 79% of Germans and 77% of Italians approving the idea. The newspaper concluded that France represented “a rejection front”. This example is nearly the only one we could find in the media, on the issue of the negative attitudes demonstrated by the French population towards refugees. Given that unfriendly attitudes are well-known and common in France, it is surprising that this issue is under-covered by the media.

[1] Au cœur d’un “hotspot”, centre d’enregistrement pour migrants. TF1, 2 December 2015. http://lci.tf1.fr/jt-20h/videos/2015/au-coeur-d-un-hotspot-centre-d-enregistrement-pour-migrants-8691083.html?xtmc=refugies&xtcr=4

Croatie, comment s’effectuent les contrôles à la frontière ?, 29 November 2015. http://lci.tf1.fr/jt-we/videos/2015/croatie-comment-s-effectuent-les-controles-a-la-frontiere-8689650.html?xtmc=refugies&xtcr=8

Face à l’afflux massif de migrants, la Slovénie sous pression. TF1, 25 October 2015. http://lci.tf1.fr/jt-we/videos/2015/face-a-l-afflux-massif-de-migrants-la-slovenie-sous-pression-8675054.html?xtmc=refugies&xtcr=60

[2] Migrants : le périple d’un Syrien qui a tout quitté. TF1, 28 October 2015. http://lci.tf1.fr/jt-20h/videos/2015/migrants-le-periple-d-un-syrien-qui-a-tout-quitte-8676615.html?xtmc=refugies&xtcr=48

De la Grèce à la Croatie, sur les traces d’une famille syrienne. TF1, 11 October 2015. http://lci.tf1.fr/jt-we/videos/2015/de-la-grece-a-la-croatie-sur-les-traces-d-une-famille-syrienne-8668662.html?xtmc=refugies&xtcr=93

[3] Migrants : nouveau drame au large de l’île de Lesbos, 242 réfugiés secourus. France 3, 29 October 2015. http://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/europe/migrants/migrants-nouveau-drame-au-large-de-l-ile-de-lesbos-242-refugies-secourus_1150715.html

[4] Lorraine : préparatifs avant l’arrivée des réfugiés syriens. France 3 Lorraine, 9 September 2015. http://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/lorraine/lorraine-preparatifs-avant-l-arrivee-des-refugies-syriens-802949.html

[5] Among many articles: L’Union européenne pourrait accueillir 50 000 réfugiés installés en Turquie. Le Monde, 8 December 2015. http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2015/12/08/l-union-europeenne-pourrait-accueillir-50-000-refugies-installes-en-turquie_4826998_3214.html. Migrants : l’Europe menace d’exclure la Grèce de l’espace Schengen. Le Monde, 2 December 2015. http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2015/12/02/la-grece-risque-la-sortie-de-l-espace-schengen_4822232_3214.html. Migrants : Bruxelles demande à la France d’accélérer la répartition. Le Parisien, 1 December 2015. http://www.leparisien.fr/international/migrants-bruxelles-demande-a-la-france-d-accelerer-la-repartition-01-12-2015-5330683.php#xtref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.fr. L’accord entre la Turquie et l’UE est un “marchandage sordide”. La Croix, 30 November 2015. http://www.la-croix.com/Actualite/Europe/L-accord-entre-la-Turquie-et-l-UE-sur-les-migrants-Syriens-est-un-marchandage-sordide-2015-11-30-1386904

[6] L’Allemagne peut à nouveau renvoyer ses réfugiés. Le Figaro, 11 November 2015. http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2015/11/11/01003-20151111ARTFIG00211-l-allemagne-peut-a-nouveau-renvoyer-ses-refugies.php

Migrants : les refoulés de la frontières gréco-macédonienne. Libération, 4 December 2015. http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2015/12/04/migrants-les-refoules-de-la-frontiere-greco-macedonienne_1418290

Par crainte des migrants, le Danemark prend ses distances avec l’Europe. L’Express, 4 December 2015. http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/monde/europe/par-crainte-des-migrants-le-danemark-prend-ses-distances-avec-l-europe_1742648.html

[7] Quand la Syrie accueillait les réfugiés… Ouest France, 23 November 2015. http://international.blogs.ouest-france.fr/archive/2015/11/23/quand-la-syrie-accueillait-les-refugies-15131.html

[8] Eux, c’est nous : un livre qui explique aux enfants pourquoi tendre la main aux réfugiés, Télérama, 26 November 2015. http://www.telerama.fr/idees/eux-c-est-nous-un-livre-qui-explique-aux-enfants-pourquoi-tendre-la-main-aux-refugies,134789.php

Eux, c’est nous : le livre qui parle des réfugiés aux enfants. Le Parisien TV, 8 décembre 2015. http://videos.leparisien.fr/video/eux-cest-nous-le-livre-qui-parle-des-refugies-aux-enfants-04-12-2015-x3gvp9k

Les éditeurs jeunesse s’unissent pour publier un livre sur les réfugiés. Elle, 22 November 2015. http://www.elle.fr/Loisirs/Livres/News/Les-editeurs-jeunesse-s-unissent-pour-publier-un-livre-sur-les-refugies-3013385

Les réfugiés expliqués aux enfants, L’Express, 22 November 2015. http://blogs.lexpress.fr/allonz-enfants/2015/11/22/les-refugies-expliques-aux-enfants/

[9] L’accueil des réfugiés est une chance. L’Express, 1 December 2015. http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/quand-les-chances-sont-chargees-d-espoir_1741372.html

[10] Among others: Rencontre avec une famille de réfugiés irakiens installée à Argelès-sur-Mer. France Bleu Roussillon, 6 November 2015. https://www.francebleu.fr/infos/societe/rencontre-avec-une-famille-de-refugies-irakiens-installee-argeles-sur-mer-1446846977. Intégration des réfugiés : en Allemagne, certains sont prêts à tout (story of refugees who converted to Christianity). France 3, 9 November 2015. http://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/europe/migrants/integration-des-refugies-en-allemagne-certains-sont-prets-a-tout_1166519.html. Un réfugié syrien nourrit les sans-abri à Berlin. Le Monde, 27 November 2015. http://bigbrowser.blog.lemonde.fr/2015/11/27/un-refugie-syrien-nourrit-les-sans-abri-a-berlin/. L’ascension fulgurante d’un réfugié syrien grâce au crowdfunding. Le Point, 6 December 2015. http://www.lepoint.fr/monde/l-ascension-fulgurante-d-un-refugie-grace-au-crowdfunding-06-12-2015-1987602_24.php

[11] Réfugiés de Syrie : en deuil pour Paris. Le Parisien magazine, 20 November 2015. http://www.leparisien.fr/magazine/grand-angle/refugies-de-syrie-en-deuil-pour-paris-19-11-2015-5292731.php

A Paris, des réfugiés rattrapés par la peur. La Croix, 22 November 2015. http://www.la-croix.com/Actualite/France/A-Paris-des-refugies-rattrapes-par-la-peur-2015-11-22-1383518

[12] Réfugiés : deux mois après leur arrivée en France. TF1, 9 November 2015. http://lci.tf1.fr/jt-20h/videos/2015/refugies-deux-mois-apres-leur-arrivee-en-france-8681815.html?xtmc=refugies&xtcr=39

De l’opposant politique à l’ingénieur, le profil des réfugiés syriens évolue. Le Monde, 26 September 2015. http://www.lemonde.fr/immigration-et-diversite/article/2015/09/26/de-l-opposant-politique-a-l-ingenieur-le-profil-des-refugies-syriens-evolue_4772832_1654200.html

[13] Leur bateau prend l’eau en pleine mer : deux sœurs syriennes nagent pour sauver 20 migrants. TF1, 10 November 2015. http://lci.tf1.fr/videos/2015/leur-bateau-prend-l-eau-en-pleine-mer-2-soeurs-syriennes-nagent-8682029.html?xtmc=refugies&xtcr=38

[14] Migrants : dans les Vosges, ils ne sont pas toujours les bienvenus. France 2, 11 November 2015. http://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/europe/migrants/migrants-dans-les-vosges-ils-ne-pas-toujours-les-bienvenus_1170005.html

[15] Allemagne : l’accueil des réfugiés mis en cause. RFI, 18 November 2015. http://www.rfi.fr/emission/20151118-allemagne-accueil-refugies-remis-cause

Réfugiés syriens : l’Allemagne restreint sa politique d’accueil. Les Echos, 10 November 2015. http://www.lesechos.fr/monde/europe/021468789739-refugies-syriens-lallemagne-restreint-sa-politique-daccueil-1174081.php

Etats-Unis : la Chambre adopte la suspension de l’accueil de réfugiés syriens et irakiens. Le Monde, 19 November 2015. http://www.lemonde.fr/ameriques/article/2015/11/19/etats-unis-la-chambre-adopte-la-suspension-de-l-accueil-de-refugies-syriens-et-irakiens_4813851_3222.html

Etats-Unis : une vingtaine de gouverneurs s’oppose à l’accueil de réfugiés. TF1, 19 November 2015. http://lci.tf1.fr/videos/2015/etats-unis-une-vingtaine-de-gouverneurs-s-oppose-a-l-accueil-de-8684405.html

[16] Des réfugiés syriens enfermés dans des centres de rétention administrative. Le Monde, 14 November 2015. http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2015/11/14/des-refugies-syriens-enfermes-dans-des-centres-de-retention-administrative_4809903_3224.html

[17] Réfugiés et aides sociales : les intox de Pierre Lellouche. Le Monde, 2 November 2015. http://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2015/11/02/refugies-et-aides-sociales-les-intox-de-pierre-lellouche_4801590_4355770.html

[18] Les Français hostile à l’accueil de réfugiés. Le Dauphiné, 28 October 2015. http://www.ledauphine.com/france-monde/2015/10/28/les-francais-hostiles-a-l-accueil-de-refugies

The subjective perspective

  • France Government should end the practice of detaining undocumented people in deportation centers and deporting rejected asylum seekers.
  • The authorities should stop repressive measures against the Calais migrant camp, the camp is regularly destroyed and migrants arrested by the police.
  • France Government should end agressive control of its european borders, especially on the Italian border. The consequence of this closed border are terrible for migrants, and contributed to the terrible treatment of migrants in the city of Ventimiglia on Italian border.
  • A major effort should be made to address and counteract misinformation about migration by media and politicians.
  • Enough accomodation should be provided for all asylum seekers.
  • Asylum seekers have to be authorized to work and study, as one of the main methods to reduce their vulnerability.
  • Language teaching should be provided from the beginning of the asylum seeking.
  • Criteria for applying for asylum need to be less stringent. Too much documentation is being requested and the process has become too elitist : those not able to express himself correctly are almost sure not to get protection.
  • A psycological support with translator should be a right for every asylum seeker.
  • The migrants/refugees should be offered help to obtain the equivalence of their diploma/qualification from their home nation. Quite often they are offered jobs which are below their levels of education. Further they are not supported in seeking out training programs to get fair recognition of their educational history. It is really humiliating for those people.

 

In Europe

 

  • There should be an immediate end to the Turkish agreement which allows countries to send back asylum seekers to Turkey from the hot-stop on Greek islands
  • The European Union should immediately end agreements with transit countries to prevent migrants from accessing to Europe. These agreements lead to serious human rights violations in those countries.
  • The European Union shouldn’t tolerate the daily violation of human rights within the internal borders of Europe. The living conditions in the camps are often Moreover, the European Union can’t tolerate the daily suppression and mistreatment of migrants in the borders and countries guilty of these actions should be financially sanctioned and should be threatened with expulsion European Union if they refuse to respect fundamental human rights.
  • It’s absolutely essential to settle ALL families with underaged children and ALL non-accompanied children, no matter their status, to protect ALL the children and to permit them to have immediate access to education. It’s is also urgent to control, prevent and investigate the disappearance of underaged migrants in Europe.
  • The European Union should as soon as possible create (ideally within in a few months) safe, legal and multiple channels for people in need of international protection.

Francefr

Capital: Paris
Location: Western Europe
Founder of the European Union
Currency: Euro
Population: 65,633,200
GDP:  2,806 billion USD / 42,503USD per inhabitant (2013, World Bank)
Min. wage:  9.61 euros/hour / 1,457.52 per month (gross, 2015)
Poverty line:  987 euros per month (2012)
Population under poverty line:  8.5 million people (13.9% of population, 2012)

IWB Researchersforwebsite

Gaëlle Anne Fouéré

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Journalist

I am taking part in the project IWB for refugees, because the issue needs to be reconsidered: with a growing number of conflicts at the gates of Europe, refugees are even more numerous and do not receive the treatment they are entitled to.

Oriana Philippe

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I asked to join the project IWB for refugees for two reasons. Firstly, I work in this field, I love my job and I’m really committed and interested in migration-related topics. Secondly, the way migration is managed in Europe is a currently a big problem, and as a citizen I want to take part of actions which may improve the situation.

Silindile Mlilo

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I decided to join the IWB for refugees project because as an individual passionate about ensuring the wellbeing and promotion of the rights of vulnerable members in society, I believe that policies that are implemented effectively can bring about change at a broader scale.

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Proposed by

on 21 September 2015

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